AHEAD of Bristol Rovers v Swindon Town meeting for the first time this season, Bristol Live’s Rovers reporter, Sam Frost gives Adver Sport the lowdown on the Gas.

Rovers have made a pretty poor start to the season – is there any concern that Joey Barton might lose his job if Town come away with three points?

I don’t think so. The owner, Wael Al-Qadi, is fully committed to the Barton project and has full faith he will lead Rovers up the table. The win at Walsall last Saturday ended a 10-month run without an away win, and that has lifted the mood for now, but a poor performance on Saturday will lead to intense scrutiny of the manager from the terraces. The pressure on Barton at the moment is more external than internal.

How do the Gasheads currently view Barton?

As he has done throughout his career, Joey Barton has split opinion at Rovers. The honeymoon period is definitely over, and he knows he must deliver over the coming weeks or the opinion of the fanbase will become universal in calling for change.

What is Rovers’ style of play like?

Barton wants a high-tempo, attacking brand of football but that has rarely been delivered so far this season. A promising first half against Oldham proved to be a false dawn and Rovers had been turgid until Saturday, when they put in their best performance of the season. They have some good players, but sometimes they have been too direct without the players to do it. Last weekend, they were much better and seemed to show the ball a bit more care than bombing it upfield on repeat, but there is still room for improvement. A common theme of individual errors in defence and limited chance creation has led to their poor start.

Who are the key men?

Connor Taylor has been a revelation since joining from Stoke City on loan. At 19, he is the defensive anchor. Up front, Swindon fans will be no strangers to Brett Pitman. He’s very handy in and around the box, but his input is otherwise limited. But Sam Finley is the key man for me. He may be diminutive, but he is a midfield general who affects the game in every third of the pitch.

Earlier this year, Joey Barton said Ben Garner was “negligent” when he was at the Mem. Is there a sense of anticipation, needle, or spice about this game for the current Rovers boss?

It is important to recognise Barton did not namecheck Garner specifically in that comment, but his recent predecessors at Rovers without naming them. I imagine beating Garner adds little importance for Barton, but he has certainly given the Swindon boss a bit more motivation if he needed it after being sacked by the Gas last year. For Gasheads, there is definitely added spice. Some, though certainly not all, believe Garner is the man mostly culpable for relegation last season.

General thoughts and score prediction?

A booming atmosphere, a full-blooded game and a narrow Rovers win.